Improve Communication Skills with Yoga

By Pratik Pandey

Effective communication skills are necessary if you want a successful life, fulfilling relationships, spiritual progress and creative actions. Yoga is the science that improves your communication skills and gives you power of effective communication.

A glorious sunrise
It was a beautiful morning – unadulterated and mystical. While strolling along the pavement on a long road, I could witness orange color being sprinkled on canvas of dark eastern horizon. This vastness that was visible outside was also taking birth within, giving a sense of pervasive silence to entire consciousness. Some cars, passing by on the road, were breaking this silence momentarily. But silence had this tendency to restore itself quickly and spread even more. Breeze was cuddling with skin giving rejuvenation to entire being. Birds, drenched in their own melody, were singing beautifully all around. Surprisingly, their song was communicating presence of the silence even more strongly.

What Impedes Your Communication Skills?

Unlike the chirping of birds, chirping thoughts destroy this silence that is essence of true communication. Because, true communication takes place in complete silence – inner and outer. When there is constant chattering in mind, there is no possibility of true communication. Silence is the medium that connects two people. It is the medium that facilitates flow of profound emotions between two individuals. People keep chattering mentally all the time. And, most of it is complete garbage, nothing important or worthwhile most of the time – not even a single useful thought. There are some for whom this constant chattering is so loud that they have to verbalize it; they start talking to themselves.
I've heard somewhere that a young father was pushing the crying baby down the street in a pram with what appeared to be absolute calm and self-assurance. People on the street could hear what he was. saying as he passed. “Take it easy, David,” he said. “Don't let it get you down, David, you will soon be safe back home. Things will be all right, David, if you just keep calm.” One motherly type woman waiting for a bus, heard and saw the young father and said to him, “I think you are wonderful the way you are taking care of the baby.” Then she leaned over to the baby and said, “Now, don't cry, David, everything is going to be all right.” “Lady,” said the father, “You have got it all wrong. His name is Tommy - I am David.”
Most of us are like this young father, always engrossed in our own thoughts. We create a wall of thoughts around us and deprive ourselves of all the sunshine, all the richness that this world has to offer us. We live in our self-created cages and the other person lives in his or her cage of thoughts, and when we try to communicate this way, misunderstanding is inevitable. It is bound to take place, no matter what. Why are there so many problems in this world? Why are so much hatred, jealousy, despair and loneliness around? Miscommunication is the root cause of all these problems. With improper communication, we hurt others and we get hurt. And, still we do not know how to communicate, how to learn the art of communication. Yoga gives a solution for stopping this seemingly unceasing chattering of mind that causes miscommunication.

Yoga to Hone Your Communication Skills

Patanjali, in his aphorisms on Yoga, says – “योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः” (yogaś citta vṛtti nirodhaḥ). This is a very profound statement, a Sutra that you should learn by heart and you should ponder upon. What does it mean? It means Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Chitta) from taking various forms (Vrttis). To understand it more clearly, visualize mind as a lake. When you throw a stone into it, stone creates ripples. These ripples are uncontrolled thoughts that keep rushing in our mind and stone may be any object. Any object can start a train of thoughts that goes on and on. Suppose you looked at a glass that created a thought that you’d seen beautiful glasses in a certain restaurant, which, in turn, can ignite a thought about the quality of food there that might lead you to the thought of your spouse who cooked nicely last weekend. It is a nonstop process that most of us are trapped in, isn’t it?

Rhythmic Breathing for Effective Communication

Yoga can help us to break out from this process and reach a state where our mind is uncluttered, with no ripples of any kind. In such a state of mind, you will be able to understand clearly what is being said and what is being communicated by the other. There will be no inner chattering that can distort the real meaning of said words and expressed gestures. It will help you to be on the same wavelength with a person you’re communicating to. Without this uncontrolled train of thoughts, you will be able to express yourself more clearly and effectively. People will begin to perceive you as a charismatic communicator. Yogis have developed several techniques for this state of mind to come into being. One of the most important methods to achieve it is rhythmic breathing. In my last post, I had discussed about it:
“There is one cosmic rhythm that manifests itself in nature, in body, mind and all other things. When this rhythm is disturbed in nature, there are consequences like famines, earthquakes, epidemics. When it is disturbed in the body, there are various diseases. When it is disturbed in mind, there are depression, illusion, stress and all sorts of mental troubles… Rhythmic breathing calms your mind and relaxes your body. Keep practicing and soon you will feel joy and peace rising in your heart. There will be no negative thoughts and you will become more creative.”
To know more about rhythmic breathing and how to do it, you may like to read my last post – Rhythmic Breathing: A Key to Unlock Your Potential

After practicing it even for few days, you can notice calmness descending on you. As you progress in your practice, you will be able to see the quality of your communication improving by leaps and bounds. Your words will become more meaningful and have deeper impact on others. Your voice will begin to carry certain vibration, which will make it relaxing and melodious. 

Rhythmic breathing is essential for being a good communicator. If you study all the good communicators of the world, you will find one common thing – they had rhythmic quality in their voices, albeit very different sorts of rhythms. Practice it as much as possible, and you will reap immense benefits.

Meditation: Transform Yourself Into a Master Communicator

Meditation improves communication skills
According to a study conducted by researchers in 2012, average attention span of an individual is merely 8 seconds, i.e. we usually do not pay attention to anyone or anything for more than 8 second at a stretch. No wonder our world is full of agony and conflict created by miscommunication and misunderstanding. Yoga says this attention span can be improved immensely. If it can be done, all the problems in a relationship can be cured; you can eliminate misunderstanding from the very root and bring insight in all your communication.

As per Yoga, meditation is complete attention without any flickering. Meditation, if practiced properly, prolongs attention span and transforms the quality of perception. It sharpens your intellect and balances your emotions, which are very important traits for effective communication. There are several different methods of meditation, but their core is same. Be a witness to any object, inner or outer, in your consciousness. This object can be anything – a Mantra or Chakra or stream of thoughts. Just observe it by paying your full attention and do not force your mind at all. 

If your mind wavers a lot initially, be patient and observe it without forcing your will on it. After some time, it will start to become steady and you will be surprised to see that chattering in your mind is getting lesser and lesser. Your expressions are getting impactful, your words full of energy and your understanding in-depth. Meditation changes your entire consciousness and gives you extraordinary communication skills, which cannot be defined. Swami Vivekananda says:
“The Yogis claim that of all the energies that are in the human body the highest is what they call "Ojas". Now this Ojas is stored up in the brain, and the more Ojas is in a man's head, the more powerful he is, the more intellectual, the more spiritually strong. One man may speak beautiful language and beautiful thoughts, but they, do not impress people; another man speaks neither beautiful language nor beautiful thoughts, yet his words charm. Every movement of his is powerful. That is the power of Ojas.”
Meditation facilitates aforementioned process; by and by your entire personality becomes magnetic. The ancient Yoga practices of rhythmic breathing and meditation do not just change the periphery, but also transforms the core of your being. Yoga turns you into a powerful communicator helping you create an everlasting mark wherever you go. Om!

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7 comments:

  1. very informative indeed,i also would like to add that kapal bhaati,anulom vilom and surya namaskaar are very good excercises of yoga if done with rythmic breathing...and they are highly curative for people with flickering mind,high bp,and increase concentration immensly.regards.

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    1. Thank you for your valuable comment. I agree that Kapalbhati and Anulom Vilom are certainly very effective. These Pranayama exercises can improve health immensely and strengthen the mind for sure. However, I have found that one should not practice any higher form of breathing exercises until one masters rhythmic breathing. Rhythmic breathing is the core of it all. Without perfecting basics, complex Pranayamas might also harm a practitioner.

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    2. Great information ..by karthi 7010766088

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  2. This is very insightful article. I do believe the more we understand our inner-self more enlightened we would be with respect to the outer mysteries. I must appreciate that the way you have tried to explain the concept of communication vis-a-vis its relationship with human mind and control points through mediation, yoga and rhythmic breathing it is wonderful.
    Many thanks to you for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. I agree with you completely. There's in adage in Sanskrit - यथा पिण्डे तथा ब्रह्माण्डे. It means the universe is the manifestation of our inner-self. I hope I'll keep hearing from you.

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  3. Hi Pratik....Thank you for such an informative article. I am practicing Anulom Vilom, Kapalbhati and Tratak for last 6 years and yes I have seen wonderful improvements in my health, eyesight and concentration. I was one Hindi Medium student throughout my studies and I lost my first job opportunity as I was not fluent in English. Learning English was started due to anger on me that I could not communicate in English and I did so many experiments with Yoga to make my mind to learn, think and speak in English. Today I can say yes I am a good communicator in English. In my Office even my boss takes my suggestions while preparing draft for any important notification. The biggest satisfaction comes when my UK counterparts tells me that my English communication is excellent.
    But now a days I am feeling some restlessness...I am making mistakes and forgetting words while speaking. I was very fluent in my speaking but now I became like I am just learning it. Actually I started Sun Salutation to make my body healthy and get rid of routine job pressure and tension. It makes me fresh and rejuvenated but at the same time I feel I am becoming numb and so much calm that I don;t want to speak to anyone. If I will try to communicate with my sis or my wife...I will forget words and I will not be that much fluent. My wife suggested me its because you have never done Sun Salutation and your mind is not accustomed with its physical fatigues. After 1 -2 weeks it will be fine again. I don't have doubt that Sun Salutation has taken out some of fat and improved my joint and knee movements, but I am just worried about my English as this language is my passion and want to be the best in it.
    And one more thing...How could your vocabulary is so strong...I have seen some jargon in your article and you are very good in Vocabulary...Kindly let me know how you have learnt this and how can I also become this much good to use these fantastic words in my daily communication to my peers? Waiting for your reply.

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  4. People aren’t born with good communication skills; like any other skill, they are learned through trial and error and repeated practice! improve your communication skills

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